Dreams of transcendence, Argonautica, Jason and Medea, cruel love, big deity energy, mythical murderesses, possible worlds, open windows.
Greek texts have always circulated in fragments, filtered through different stories. Medea is a princess, daughter of Aeetes of Colchis, niece of the enchantress Circe, herself a sorceress, sometimes a priestess, and in Euripides’ classic tragedy, a murderess bent on bloody revenge.
Images are what you remember from a film: a rising moon; Jason of the Argonauts, pushing a skateboard into the wind; Medea’s yearning face; Eros, visiting her as she dreams; Lucian, her confidant, reading her tarot; Circe, marrying the cursed couple; a river, illuminated in sun. A bacchanal, a flirtation, a failed love story, several strange changes in the air. A fun film of restless energy, built of splinters, impressions and defiant youth. We’re not so much following a plot as gliding into a place. Flowing between the world of myth and the everyday, we land in the harshness of a contemporary city – Melbourne, in this case – which holds a life that many of us long to transcend.
In fine golden light, the picture slips and cuts at surprising moments – editing that Lodkina describes as clustered and non-linear, much like how we flit between floating tabs online. This approach is an homage to Gregory Markopoulos of the 1970s New York avant-garde, whose works are rarely seen beyond his milieu on account of his aversion to digitisation.
In all of Lodkina’s films so far, in the humanity she captures on screen, I’ve seen the challenges of ordinary life given a lyrical quality: falling in love, not falling in love; working, not working; finding your family again, leaving them. With Mercury, Lodkina is, more than ever, a cinematic anthropologist of the faraway spaces through which she moves. Her films are made from inside the worlds of her subjects: swaggering artists, hopeful intransients and those who anchor together to rove outside social norms.
About Alena Lodkina
With Strange Colours in 2017, Alena Lodkina made one of Australian cinema’s most striking debuts in recent years. Her work up to date has explored the idea of individual freedom in the modern world.